‘It’s a scary thing’: Doctor on COVID ward says pandemic taking emotional toll on workers, patients

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Additionally, 1,512 Albertans have died of COVID-19 during the pandemic, including 357 in 2021 alone.

It’s a heavy load for health-care workers, Pendharkar said, describing his colleagues as stressed but determined to provide care for patients.

“It’s tearing through our vulnerable populations, older individuals, people who are living or working in enclosed spaces with other people. But we’re also seeing it in young and otherwise healthy people,” Pendharkar said. “You’re having to think about these things that are heavy. We worry about our own families, we think about our households. I think about my family members that are high-risk. It’s very tiring, but you press on.”

Though he received his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine last weekend, Pendharkar said immunization is a light at the end of the tunnel but will take time to materialize for most people. He said if the health-care system becomes overwhelmed, it will restrict care for people who need treatment for any illness, not just the coronavirus.

He urged Calgarians to continue taking the pandemic seriously over the coming weeks and months.

“This is real. To the best that anyone will believe me as a health-care provider, this is a real thing. The numbers are important, but I don’t think the numbers tell the whole story of the acute illness, the prolonged recovery, the experience of the people who have it. It needs to be talked about as something that affects people of all ages.

“Each of these people who gets COVID-19, whether they come into hospital or not, is a member of the community. They’re a neighbour, they’re a family member, they’re a worker.”

jherring@postmedia.com

Twitter: @jasonfherring

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